The Joy of Giving 

1 Peter 1:8-9 New International Version – UK 

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The Following children’s Hymn reminds us how we should not only Shine for Jesus but be loving and kind. It also asks for Guidance from Sin all of which is not easy at the best of times  after all we are human.

  1. Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,
    To shine for Him each day;
    In every way try to please Him,
    At home, at school, at play.Related image

    • Refrain:
      A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
      Jesus wants me for a sunbeam;
      A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
      I’ll be a sunbeam for Him.
  2. Jesus wants me to be loving,
    And kind to all I see;
    Showing how pleasant and happy,
    His little one can be.
  3. I will ask Jesus to help me
    To keep my heart from sin;
    Ever reflecting His goodness,
    And always shine for Him.
  4. I’ll be a sunbeam for Jesus,
    I can if I but try;
    Serving Him moment by moment,
    Then live for Him on high.

Our walk with God

When we walk with the Lord we draw closer to the Lord with all our heart. He becomes our focus. Our hearts longs for Him. Our heart seeks His presence. Our desire to have fellowship with Christ and be like Him will grow while our worldly desires will decrease.

11. Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I’ll walk with God
From this day on
His helping hand I’ll lean upon
This is my prayer my humble plea
May the Lord be ever with me

There is no death though eyes grow dim
There is no fear when I’m near to him
I’ll lean on him forever
And he’ll forsake me never

He will not fail me as long as my faith is strong
What ever road I may walk alone

I’ll walk with God
I’ll take his hand
I’ll talk with God he’ll understand
I’ll pray to him
Each day to him

And he’ll hear the words that I say
His hand will guide my throne and rod
And I’ll never walk alone
While I walk with God.

Teach Me

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Psalm 149

Praise the Lord.[a]

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
    let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing
    and make music to him with timbrel and harp.

For the Lord takes delight in his people;
    he crowns the humble with victory.
Let his faithful people rejoice in this honour
    and sing for joy on their beds.

May the praise of God be in their mouths
    and a double-edged sword in their hands,
to inflict vengeance on the nations
    and punishment on the peoples,
to bind their kings with fetters,
    their nobles with shackles of iron,
to carry out the sentence written against them—
    this is the glory of all his faithful people.

Praise the Lord.

In his Presence

Psalm 27

Of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
    to devour[a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted
    above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
    I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
    be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
    do not turn your servant away in anger;
    you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
    God my Saviour.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
    the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
    lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me,
    spouting malicious accusations.

13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Giving God the Glory

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Psalm 126

A song of ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of[a] Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.[b]
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes,[c] Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them

Stories of Jesus

1 John 1:1-4 New International Version (NIV)

The Incarnation of the Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our[a] joy complete.

When reading this verse of scripture and title I am reminded of the hymn I learnt as a child.

  1. Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
    Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here;
    Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
    Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
  2. First let me hear how the children stood round His knee,
    And I shall fancy His blessing resting on me;
    Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace,
    All in the love light of Jesus’ face.
  3. Tell me, in accents of wonder, how rolled the sea,
    Tossing the boat in a tempest on Galilee;
    And how the Maker, ready and kind,
    Chided the billows, and hushed the wind.
  4. Into the city I’d follow the children’s band,
    Waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand;
    One of His heralds, yes, I would sing
    Loudest hosannas, “Jesus is King!”
  5. Show me that scene in the garden, of bitter pain;
    Show me the cross where my Savior for me was slain;
    Sad ones or bright ones, so that they be
    Stories of Jesus—tell them to me.

Standing Firm

Jude 24-25 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Doxology

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – 25 to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and for evermore! Amen.

In this day and age it is very hard to ‘Stand Firm’ especially with all the evil going on not just in the United Kingdom but all over the world.

It is our duty as Christians by reading the bible and through the power of prayer therefore to pray not just for protection against the evil one but for the evil throughout the world

 

 

Joseph H. Gilmore

Psalm 16 New International Version – UK

Psalm 16

miktam[a] of David.

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.’
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    ‘They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.’
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

He leadeth me: O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

“He Leadeth Me” by American Joseph Gilmore (1834-1918) was birthed out of a particular struggle in American history. This hymn was composed in 1862 during the Civil War, a time of upheaval and insecurity. The author was preaching at First Baptist Church in Philadelphia soon after his ordination.

Dr. Carlton R. Young, The United Methodist Hymnal editor, cites Gilmore’s recollections on the hymn’s formation: “I set out to give the people an exposition of the 23rd Psalm, which I had given before on three or four occasions, but this time I did not get further than the words ‘He Leadeth Me.’ Psalm 23:2, ‘he leadeth me beside the still waters,’ became the theme of the song” (Young, 1993, 390).

Subsequently, upon the initiative of Glimore’s wife and without the author’s knowledge, the text appeared in the Boston newspaper Watchman and Reflector (Dec. 4, 1862) under the rather unusual and unexplained pseudonym “Contoocook.” The famous gospel song composer William Bradbury (1816-1868) included these words anonymously with his own tune in his collection The Golden Censer (1864). Bradbury is credited with adding the third line to the famous refrain (in bold italics):

He leadeth me! He leadeth me!
By his own hand he leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by his hand he leadeth me.

Joseph H. Gilmore, the son of Joseph A. Gilmore, governor of New Hampshire, received his education from Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (1858), and Newton Theological Seminary (1861) where he taught Hebrew. An ordained Baptist minister (1862), Gilmore became a professor after serving churches in Philadelphia, New Hampshire, and New York. He was also a professor of English at the University of Rochester from 1868-1911. A prolific writer for newspapers and periodicals, Gilmore also authored three books in his academic field: The Art of Expression (1876) and Outlines of English and American Literature (1905), as well as a book of poetry, He Leadeth Me, and Other Religious Poems (1877).

Working as his father’s private secretary during the Civil War, he also edited the Concord, New Hampshire Daily Monitor. Gilmore provided further information on the historical context of this hymn:

It was the darkest hour of the Civil War. I did not refer to that fact—that is, I don’t think I did—but it may subconsciously have led me to realize that God’s leadership is the one significant fact in human experience, that it makes no difference how we are led, or whither we are led, so long as we are sure God is leading us. http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/h/l/e/hleademe.htm

Stanza 2 of the hymn may suggest the ethos of the national crisis. Drawing on Psalm 23:4a; “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (KJV), Gilmore begins: “Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom…”

In stanza 3, the poet offers a particular theological interpretation of Psalm 23:4b: ”thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” In doing so, he reflects on the concept of complete submission to God’s will found in many gospel songs of this era:

Lord I would place my hand in Thine,
nor ever murmur nor repine;
content, whatever lot I see,
since ‘tis my God that leadeth me.

Consider the similarity between this sentiment and the first stanza of “When Peace Like a River” (1873) by Horatio Spafford (1828-1888): “… whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, / ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’”

Or note “Blessed Assurance” (1873) by Fanny Crosby (1820-1915), in which the poet says: “Perfect submission, all is at rest, / I in my Savior am happy and blest…“ (stanza 3).

Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (KJV), provides a basis for the final stanza of the hymn, drawing upon the familiar image of the Jordan River cited throughout Scripture, especially as the place of Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 2:13) and a place where Jesus often conducted his ministry (Matthew 4:25; Mark 3:7-8), and ultimately the passageway from this life to the next:


And when my task on earth is done,
When by thy grace the victory’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.



As is the case with so many gospel songs, the rhetorical strength of this hymn lies in the almost incessant repetition of a single thought: “He/God leadeth me.” When the five quotations of this idea in the four stanzas are added to the three references in the refrain, the singer will have sung “He/God leadeth me” a total of seventeen times by the time the hymn is concluded!

Gilmore seems to have had a humble nature as a poet and lacked ambition in promoting his own work. After handing the draft of the poem to his wife who sent it to The Watchman and Reflector under a pseudonym, Gilmore thought no more about it. Gilmore notes, “Three years later I went to Rochester, New York, to preach as a candidate before the Second Baptist Church. Upon entering the chapel, I took up a hymnbook, thinking, ‘I wonder what they sing.’ The book opened up at “’He Leadeth Me,’ and that was the first time I knew that my hymn had found a place among the songs of the church” (Osbeck, 1982, 87).

When the famous musical evangelist Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908), the musician for renowned evangelist Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899), included Bradbury’s version of the hymn in several editions of Sacred Songs and Solos, its fame was assured. The Salvation Army spread its use throughout Britain when they included it in several of their collections.

Though Gilmore wrote other hymns, it is this hurriedly penned text written at age 28 for which he is remembered. The First Baptist Church of Philadelphia was demolished in 1926. Kenneth Osbeck notes, however, that the words to the first stanza of Gilmore’s hymn appear on a bronze tablet on the large office building that replaced the church with the inscription, “in recognition of the beauty and fame of this beloved hymn, and in remembrance of its distinguished author” (Osbeck, 1982, 88).

God is Great

Psalm 92 New International Version

Psalm 92[a]

A psalm. A song. For the Sabbath day.

It is good to praise the Lord
    and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
    and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
    and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
    I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
    how profound your thoughts!

Senseless people do not know,
    fools do not understand,
that though the wicked spring up like grass
    and all evildoers flourish,
    they will be destroyed forever.

The Story Behind How Great Thou Art

Stuart K. Hine was a Bristish Methodist missionary on a mission trip in Ukraine in 2931 when he heard the Russian translation of a German song inspired by Carl Boberg’s poem “O Store Gud” (O Great God). Hine began to translation the song to English and added several verses. The third verse was inspired by the conversion of villagers in Russia who cried out to God loudly as the repented and realized God’s love and mercy – “And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.” 

Stuart Hine and his family left Ukraine as famine and World War Two began, and settled in Somerset, Britain where he continued to serve as a missionary to Polish refugees. The forth verse of “How Great Thou Art” was inspired by displaced Russians who experienced great loss and looked forward to seeing their loved ones again in heaven – “When Christ shall come with shoult of acclamation to take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.”

The final English version of “How Great Thou Art” was published in 1949 and quickly spread among Britian, Africa, India and America. 

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder, 
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made; 
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, 
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Chorus:
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, 
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, 
How great Thou art, How great Thou art! 

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander, 
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing; 
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in; 
That on a Cross, my burdens gladly bearing, 
He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation, 
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration, 
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

Clean Water

John 7 New International Version

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37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[c] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

I suppose you as well as myself will have noticed the number of appeals that went out from different charities over the Christmas period for different things.

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The other night I seen this appeal on TV for clean water and it showed the difference it could make to the lives of those in poor countries

The thing that has really stuck in my mind about this advert is the joy on some of the children’s faces when they were drinking ‘Clean tap water’ for the first time

Verse 1
Life is a journey; long is the road,
And when the noontide is high
Souls that are weary faint ‘neath their load,
Long for the waters, and cry:

Chorus
The well is deep and I require
A draught of the water of life,
But none can quench my soul’s desire
For a draught Or the water of life;
Till one draws near who the cry will heed,
Helper of men in their time of need,
And I, believing, find indeed
That Christ is the water of life.

Verse 2
Life is a seeking, life is a quest,
Eager and longing desire;
Unto the true things, unto the best,
Godward our spirits aspire.

Verse 3
Life is a finding; vain wand’rings cease
When from the Saviour we claim
All we have longed for, solace and peace,
And we have life in his name.